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Best spots for outdoor dining in Southern California

The Alcove restaurant in Los Angeles.
The Alcove restaurant in Los Angeles.
Pocheco on Flickr
The Alcove restaurant in Los Angeles.
A view of the outdoor patio at Trails in Griffith Park.
chotda/ Flickr/ Creative Commons
The Alcove restaurant in Los Angeles.
The view from downtown L.A.'s Perch, a bar and popular night-time haunt.
KayOne73/Flickr/Creative Commons

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When it's 75 degrees out and the sun is shining or setting, who can help but gravitate towards outdoor patios for that Sunday brunch, afternoon Panini or early evening cocktail. Given our famously good weather, you’d think there would be sidewalk cafes everywhere in Southern California. In fact, we are a bit behind most of the rest of the world in that regard. But Katie Burbank, Senior Community Manager at L.A. East, says there are plenty of gorgeous restaurant patios for dining, drinking and people watching.

"I just went to Austin a couple of months ago, and I realized how rich Austin is with the patio culture, and got very envious, and then realized, 'Wait a second. I live in L.A., there are so many places to go, all over for patios,'" she said.

Some are well known, like The Alcove Café & Bakery in Los Feliz. Others are more tucked away, like the secluded patio at the Cliff’s Edge in Silverlake with that giant coral tree in the middle. If you fancy a hike after your bite, there’s always the adorable little Trails Café right in the heart of Griffith Park. And if you’re looking to get high – literally – head to Perch in downtown Los Angeles for cozy, outdoor fireplaces and dramatic rooftop views. If you’re looking for soaring ocean views, The Resort at Pelican Hill offers Italian cuisine and a striking seaside setting.

For you desert rats, there’s no shortage of hot patios, many with cooling misters, such as La Brasserie Bistro and Bar in Palm Springs, which might make you say “Oui!” to more outdoor dining. But where are those hidden gems? We’ll get expert Katie Burbank's low down and take calls from listeners to get their hottest tips on the coolest places for patio dining this summer in Los Angeles and beyond.

Katie recommends:

Location: 8752 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA
Notes: "It is breathtaking at right about sunset. They have this beautiful little atrium in the back, and you can eat, and they have a great mixology program as well. Monday night they have great bartending specials."

Location: 2930 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, CA
Notes: "[It's] absolutely gorgeous at night time. It's very Havana, Cuban, and they have tons of lights that just light up the patio area. It's at this place called The Lab, an open air market."

The Churchill
Location: 8384 W. 3rd St. (at S Orlando Ave.), Los Angeles, CA
Notes: "It's attached to the Orlando hotel. They have a fireplace outside so you can do day to night – day drinking if you're a day drinker, or you can enjoy a nice meal in the evening."

Listeners recommend:

In Los Angeles and Los Angeles County:
Abricott in Pasadena
Blue Dog Beer Tavern in Sherman Oaks
Cafe Laurent in Culver City
Cafe Stella in Silver Lake
Cowboys and Turbans in Silver Lake
Eclectic Wine Bar & Grille in North Hollywood
El Gallo Grill in Los Angeles
Figtree's Cafe and Grille in Venice
Fiori Market in Pasadena
Greystone Manor Supper Club in Los Angeles
Heirloom Bakery in Pasadena
L.A. Buns in Downey
La Playita in Hermosa Beach
Mike & Annes in Pasadena
Nelson's in Rancho Palo Verdes
Ray's Restaurant at LACMA
Rive Gauche Cafe in Sherman Oaks
The Cat and Fiddle in Los Angeles
The Raymond Restaurant in Pasadena
Vinoteque in Los Angeles
Zip Fusion Sushi in Los Angeles

29 Palms Inn in San Bernadino County
Boccali's Pizza and Pasta in Ventura County
Dutch Garden Restaurant in Santa Barbara
Fisherman's Seafood Restaurant in San Clemente
Las Casuelas Nuevas in Rancho Mirage
Madison Square & Garden Cafe in Laguna Beach
Molly's Souper in San Bernadino County
River's End Cafe in Seal Beach
Schooner or Later Restaurant in Long Beach
Summerland Beach Cafe in Summerland
Zin American Bistro in Palm Springs


Katie Burbank, Senior Community Manager LA East, Yelp